Filling in on infill
Thanks to Mick Ireland for pushing the discussion of commercial infill further in the direction of a policy that benefits the health and harmony of the community. Commercial development if, done correctly, could make Aspen more viable, not less. A chronic shortage of lower-rent space for startup, entrepreneur, or local enterprises has reached a point (since 1996) where there are no low-cost startup spaces.
As a past member of DEPP (Downtown Enhancement and Pedestrian Plan Committee), [I can say] one of the elements never pursued was alley revitalization as a way of generating lower cost spaces accessed from revitalized or “cleaned up” alleyways.
Solar access easements similar to those adopted in Boulder, should be a part of the infill ordinance so that adjacent property owners to new “infill” are not prohibited from access to renewable energy (solar access).
Of course solar access should also be adopted for all of the residential zone districts as well. This would also have a tendency to control height and to help protect access to views to a smaller extent.
This proposal of mine fell upon deaf ears with Chris Bendon at City Hall, although the city at the same time now has both an energy and a sustainable expert on board both apparently approving $100,000 electric fire pits? There are plenty of ways in which the infill ordinance could be improved. To date it has omitted incentives for alley revitalization and protection of future energy costs by solar access easements.
Mick is correct that the infill ordinance may have been rushed through so that the real estate community would have another product to market. What’s next ? Fractional ownership of retail spaces so that ice cream vendors could “pop up” in the summer and then have haute couture apparel shows in the winter?
Sven Erik Alstrom, AIA
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